The Project

turning places kids go into places kids grow

We are proud of the accolades naming Raleigh and Wake County as great places to
live and raise a family. Our community is blessed with many rich resources to
help kids. And yet, thousands of our children need more help early on to
succeed as they grow up.

The places where young children play and learn can have a lifelong
impact on their social and emotional well-being.  And the relationships
children have with each other and adults can build their resilience, give them
the tools they need when times are difficult and arm them with confidence as
they grow into adulthood.

     1.   The Kaleidoscope Project is based on four big ideas.
     2.   There are best practices that can be integrated into places kids spend time.
     3.   Site improvements are being made at Wake County kids’ places to serve as                     showcase sites. We have 2 sites and are planning more at locations that serve                   vulnerable children.
     4.   We are providing training and technical assistance for building child mental                 health and working with vulnerable children.

Inspired and catalytic community action is possible if:

     ·   There is an awareness about why mental health is important and what works to          build it.
     ·   We all see our roles and there is a commitment to take action.  
     ·   Every setting in which children spend time is intentionally created to help them          do well in life
     ·   Decision makers know what needs to happen and they direct resources toward                   investments that strategically build whole kids.
  • 1 out of 3 Wake County children get the mental health services they need [John Rex Endowment, Our Plan for Impact, 2013-2018, 2012]
  • 5% of children in Wake County receive 95% of available public services  [John Rex Endowment, Our Plan for Impact, 2013-2018, 2012]
  • 91,000 Young children in North Carolina have serious and persistent emotional and behavioral health disorders

The Kaleidoscope Project Steering Committee

A Steering Committee guides The Kaleidoscope Project, bringing together voices and experiences that represent a wide range of Wake County’s child-focused community, and combines real-world expertise with pioneering policy initiatives.
Lucy Daniels Center
Deborah Mugno
Marbles Kids Museum
Pam Hartley
Natural Learning Initiative (College of Design, NC State University)
Robin Moore
Project CATCH, a program of The Salvation Army of Wake County
Jennifer Tisdale
John Rex Endowment, ex officio
Kate Shirah
Wake County SmartStart
Anna Troutman

How We Got Here

Research shows that early childhood experiences can have positive or negative impacts on a child’s emotional well-being. In 2013, the John Rex Endowment reached out to organizations that would be able to help it achieve an ambitious goal: to develop and enhance the contribution of children’s places and spaces to the positive mental health of children.

This would be a concrete step toward fulfilling the John Rex Endowment’s mission of supporting an environment where children and families in greater Wake County can live healthy lives.

The John Rex Endowment awarded a grant to the Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy to lead this effort with partners at the Center for Child and Family Health and select consultants.This team conducted the research, carried out an in-depth stakeholder engagement process, and created the Planning for Intentional and Effective Places and Spaces for Children’s Positive Mental Health Integrated Plan that became the foundation for The Kaleidoscope Project.

The Kaleidoscope Project is dedicated to:

  • Improving the social and emotional well-being of children from birth to 8 years old
  • Implementing strategies that will have a positive influence on Wake County children, especially those that are vulnerable
  • Inspiring and catalyzing more widespread community action
Read the Integrated Plan
Today, The Kaleidoscope Project is working closely with community partners to identify and implement best practices for child-focused places in Wake County. The John Rex Endowment is providing financial support to our current efforts.